Back to Index
100 rural WOZA members arrested in Filabusi today
Statement and updates
Women of Zimbabwe
June 11, 2007
Following on from the
demonstrations and arrests in Bulawayo last week, over 100 members
of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were arrested in Filabusi today.
The exact numbers are not clear as activists are still entering
the police station to hand themselves in.
Rural members of WOZA
had gathered today in Filabusi, the administrative centre for Insiza
District, to launch the People's
Charter in that area. The Peoples' Charter is the result
of an eleven-month process of consulting ordinary Zimbabweans on
what they want in a socially just future. The people of Insiza were
widely consulted on their vision of a new Zimbabwe and endorsed
the People's Charter fully in return visits to the district.
Several hundred women
had gathered in Filabusi this morning but before they could begin
to march, police began arresting them. Those not arrested then marched
to the police station to hand themselves in, in solidarity.
today follows on from People's Charter launch demonstrations
in Bulawayo, Harare,
It also follows on from demonstrations last
week in Bulawayo to press for the inclusion of voices at the
negotiating table that will raise the social justice issues contained
in the People's Charter - issues at the heart of ordinary
Monday 11th June - 6pm
Rural WOZA members released
The WOZA members arrested
and detained at Filabusi Police Station today were released without
charge just after noon. Police returned all the t-shirts and scarves
that they had confiscated but kept all the placards and copies of
the People's Charter to submit to provincial leaders.
Minutes before the peaceful
protest was about to begin, a police vehicle arrived at the Post
Office, the starting point of the demonstration. An officer armed
with an AK 47 assault rifle alighted and approached two members.
He said to them - "you are always talking about rights,
but why don't you say what rights you are talking about."
He then ordered them into the vehicle and drove them to the police
station. Approximately 150 other members decided to follow and hand
themselves in. Police stopped recording down their names after an
hour, saying they were tired.
When the female officer
in charge asked them why they were there, the women briefed her
on the hunger in their homes, their inability to pay school fees
and the fact that they were no longer allowed to dig for gold to
help themselves. She apparently sympathised with them saying she
also found it hard to make ends meet in her home. She then called
the District Administrator to attend the 'meeting'.
He listened to the complaints; telling them food aid would soon
be coming and that they should set more affordable fees, as parents.
He accepted the People's Charter and placards, saying that
he would pass them on to his seniors and that a reply would come
to them soon. They were then told to go home.
When lawyers attended
shortly after their release, police denied that any women had been
arrested - they had merely had a meeting with them. The lawyer
did overhear some police officers planning to locate the whereabouts
of Jenni Williams who was in the area to monitor proceedings however.
Fortunately Williams was able to leave in the company of the lawyers
before they could make good their plan.
a victory for non-violent protest and acknowledge the 'sisterhood'
from the officer in charge who treated the WOZA activists with respect.
We look forward to the promised food aid, hopefully without any
political strings attached, from the District Administrator to be
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.